Human rights group pushes for hate crimes legislation
Hakan Ataman, general project director of the Human Rights Agenda Association (HRAA)
With hate crimes increasingly a problem in Turkey, civil society groups are working to highlight the issue in order to draft legislation that will both prevent more crimes and protect its victims.
“Unfortunately, incidents of hate crime are on the rise. They vary from religious and ethnic intolerance to intolerance of differences related to disability and gender,” said Hakan Ataman, general project director of the Human Rights Agenda Association (HRAA) in Ankara.
ECHR convicted Turkey in the case of Hrant Dink
The applicants are six Turkish nationals: Fırat Dink, who was known under the pen name of Hrant Dink, his wife (Rahil Dink), his brother (Hasrof Dink) and Fırat and Rahil Dink’s three children (Delal Dink, Arat Dink and Sera Dink). Fırat Dink was born in 1954 and was assassinated on 19 January 2007. The remaining applicants were born in 1959, 1957, 1978, 1979 and 1986 respectively and live in Istanbul. Fırat Dink, a Turkish journalist of Armenian origin, was publication director and editor-in-chief of Agos, a bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly newspaper published in Istanbul since 1996.
U2 calls on us to remember grave human rights violations in Turkey
In my previous article I said the 1980 coup plotters should be put on trial for the crimes against humanity they committed. As soon as the article was published, I started to doubt if we could do this in Turkey. I believe I presented strong legal arguments about why and how 1980 coup plotters should be tried for crimes against humanity. My doubts are not about my legal arguments but about the political and legal culture in Turkey.
After posting the article, I tried to visualize how it would be to try those generals for the systematic torture and manmade hell they created in 1980 in Turkey. Victims, leftists and nationalists who were tortured after the 1980 coup appeared before a criminal court one by one to tell their grievances. They recounted all these terrible memories once again, but also lived through a kind of catharsis, which was always denied to most victims in Turkey. The victims’ statements are all being carefully recorded, not only to substantiate the verdicts about generals with strong evidence but also to preserve these statements for history so that they can be known by younger generations.
Ban Stresses Need for Tolerance and Civility Amid Increasing Polarization
At a time of threats to burn the Koran and violent responses to that from some Muslims, the United Nations will next week convene a high-level meeting of a major international body that seeks to promote inter-cultural understanding.
“Extremism loves a vacuum,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, announcing the convening of the Alliance of Civilizations on the margins of next week’s UN summit meeting and opening of the General Assembly’s 65th annual session.
“The Alliance is part of our answer to polarization, stereotyping and hatred,” he told a news conference of the body launched in 2005 by Spain and Turkey under UN auspices. “The events of recent days drive home yet again the need for countervailing voices – the voices of moderation and mutual respect.”
Forced divorce and sterilisation – a reality for many transgender persons
Strasbourg, 31.08.2010 – “The rights of transgender persons are still ignored or violated. Stronger actions are needed to eradicate discrimination against them” said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, publishing today his latest human rights comment.
“Transgender persons face obstacles in obtaining legal recognition of their preferred gender. Some Council of Europe member states still have no provision at all for official recognition, leaving transgender people in a legal limbo. Worse, most member states still use medical classifications which impose the diagnosis of mental disorder on transgender persons.”
Statement by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance on the situation of Roma migrants in France
Strasbourg, 24.08.2010 - The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) is deeply concerned about the treatment of Roma migrants in France today.
In a report published in June 2010, ECRI had called on the French authorities to combat the racist attitudes and hostility harboured by the majority population vis-à-vis this community. In recent weeks high-ranking officials have made political statements and the Government has taken action stigmatising Roma migrants. The latter are held collectively responsible for criminal offences and singled out for abusing EU legislation on freedom of movement. ECRI can only express disappointment about this most negative development.
1980 coup plotters could and should be sent to jail!
Big events may be represented in our inner world by quite irrelevant symbols. This is especially true for children. For me, the Sept. 12, 1980, military coup has always been associated with the smell of burning paper.My sister was burning books from our house in the bathroom boiler. Smoke was leaking from the boiler and, actually, not only from our house, but from the chimneys of many other houses the smell of smoke and burnt paper filled the air. Books, the evidence of ultimate guilt, were on fire. Marx could not have imagined that his book, “Das Kapital,” was heating the air in Turkey 113 years after he wrote it.
As a teenager I witnessed the Turkish left’s confrontation with the military coup. On Sept. 12, 1980, a nightmare descended upon this country. It was only many years later as a human rights defender that I realized the damage done to human rights by the 1980 coup, which I had witnessed and understood with a child’s eyes.
NGOs gathered in Kampala Call for End to Impunity Crisis Following Israeli Attack on Aid Convoy
We, the undersigned organisations gathered in Kampala at the International Criminal Court (ICC) Review Conference, are shocked by Israel’s killing and injury of civilians carrying humanitarian supplies to Gaza. We wish to express our sorrow regarding the loss of life and call on the international community to immediately take all appropriate measures in response to this unacceptable violence.
On 31 May 2010 Israeli forces opened fire against an international aid convoy seeking to bring humanitarian supplies into the Gaza Strip; more than 700 unarmed activists from over 40 countries were on board the 8-ship flotilla. The attack occurred in international waters and resulted in the killing of at least 9 persons and the injury of a further 60.
An Open Call To The Grand National Assembly Of Turkey And The Constitutional Court Of The Rebuplic Of Turkey
On 7 May 2010, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey passed a bill on Turkey’s constitutional amendments offering partial relief for the entrenched military influence over civilians that was reinforced by the army-led 1980 coup d’état. Following the Supreme Board of Elections interpretation/decision, these amendments shall be put to a public referendum on 12 September 2010.
Although current amendments are insufficient to ensure full democratization, they still provide an invaluable opportunity to create the ground for moving beyond the coup d’état Constitution, saving the judiciary from the hegemony of elites, and allowing, at least, a partial inclusion of different social segments in the judicial process. They also pave the way for bringing perpetrators of the coup d’état to justice and mark an end to the deep connection between the judiciary and the pro-coup mindset and its backers.
Barbaric acts of Israeli soldiers, Holocaust victims, anti-Semitism!
Anti-Semitic and racist messages are pouring into my mailbox. “Turkey should do what Hitler could not achieve,” one message says. “God has always punished perverted societies like Israel,” say another.
One other message says, “Say stop to this murderer and monstrous society which is deprived of dignity and honor,” and the angry remarks continue like that.
Nothing can justify racism. Do not forget, some declared Turkey a “barbaric nation” because of what some soldiers did to Kurds in southeastern Turkey or for what the Ittihadist regime did to Armenians. When you start making these kinds of sweeping generalizations about a nation, you are becoming nothing but a racist yourself.